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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2009 > May - August > Frank Velasquez to Receive Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award

Frank Velasquez to Receive Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award

Frank Velasquez to Receive Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award

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Frank Velasquez has earned the respect and admiration of fellow volunteers serving the Magnolia National Little League in his Houston, Texas neighborhood, and Little League International will recognize his commitment with the presentation of the Howard and Gail Paster Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award at the 63rd Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Little League International created the Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of the vital volunteer service being performed by thousands of dedicated people in urban settings around the country. This award annually acknowledges an adult volunteer involved with a Little League program participating in the Urban Initiative. The recipient has provided a positive Little League experience for the children and adults within a local league’s metropolitan neighborhood or community.

“Frank Velasquez recognized and appreciates all of the unique challenges to come with operating a Little League program in an urban area,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Working to grown the league and his efforts in promoting the benefits of Little League away from the field have been integral to the success of Magnolia National Little League. For these reasons, Little League is honored to present Mr. Wright with this award.”

Mr. Paster, the President of the Little League Foundation Board of Trustees, is Executive Vice President of Public Relations and Public Affairs, at WPP Group, and was Chairman of “A World of Opportunity - Little League Baseball Capital Campaign for the Future.” Mrs. Paster is Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

The Little League Urban Initiative has seen success in nearly 100 U.S. cities since it began in 2000. In the past year, Stockton (Calif.) Eastern Little League.; and Lents Little League in Portland Ore., and Bronxchester, Parkchester and Van Nest Little Leagues in Bronx, N.Y., were among several leagues that received funding and assistance through the Little League Urban Initiative.

“Mr. Velasquez is a wonderful recipient of this prestigious honor,” Arturo Salas, Jr., President of Magnolia National Little League, said. “I have often called upon him for his help, and he has never turned me down. His volunteered time and help are valuable assets to our league.”

In Texas District 15, Mr. Velasquez has served as an Assistant District Administrator, working with 10 Little Leagues throughout the district, while organizing several training and educational clinics. In past years, he has had a hand in coordinating pre- and post-season tournaments, securing uniforms and equipment, recently organized the donation of three batting cages through the City of Houston Park and Recreation.

Through the 2008 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of nearly 2,800 teams, which equates to more than 43,000 players, and has participated in 21 field renovation/development projects.

“Frank is a tireless worker, who has helped many Houston children find the joy and determination to achieve,” Ferris Maness, Texas District 15 Administrator, said. “As a past President of East Side Little League, and part of the Houston community all of his life, Frank, started by organizing leagues into a cohesive unit that had a goal to do things that eventually would help many children find a purpose in life.”

Magnolia National Little League participated in the fifth annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree held in Williamsport, May 23-25, 2008. Mr. Velasquez traveled with the team to that event.

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Through the 2008 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of nearly 2,800 teams, which equates to more than 43,000 players, and has participated in 21 field renovation/development projects.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.6 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.